Only 20 days ago we reported that steel imports were set to rise. And that’s not a minute too soon, given that the price of steel has increased by 49-65% since the start of the year! According to Platts, US steel imports in April increased 14.5% over March and were 3.4% higher than in April 2007. Although the steel lobby might have you believe otherwise, steel imports are great for US manufacturers because they provide much needed competition in the marketplace and will help bring some semblance of normalcy back to the market place. Mind you, we aren’t going to see a big price drop off — but we’ve seen the rate of price increases drop heavily between May orders for June deliveries and June orders for July deliveries.
The other piece of news is where the steel is coming from (hint: it’s not from the usual suspects). Canada and Mexico, are the leading sources of steel to the US market. China imports dropped 25.7% from the previous month, according to Platts. Brazil and Ukraine, provided much of the slab volume along with Japan; South Korea also increased their exports to the US. Let’s hope wherever it is coming from, steel buyers will get a little more relief this summer, and not just from the heat!